With tax teams less and less involved in routine compliance functions, the modern tax professional and their environment is increasingly defined by technology, which necessitates the development of new competencies to adapt to the changing circumstances.

This is the conclusion of a recent Deloitte study, which found that most routine tax compliance tasks are increasingly resourced from outside the group tax department. Global tax provisions, transfer pricing documentation, corporate income tax returns and payments, indirect tax returns and payments, and statutory accounts have all seen sharp declines in tax team involvement since 2019.

Without these routine compliance tasks, the study found that tax leaders are increasingly occupied with technological optimization. When asked what is the top skill they intend to focus on with their teams over the next one to two years, 45% said data analytics, while 43% said technology process and design. This is likely because 65% predict increased demand for tax support for digital business models.

These skills, though, are also being developed with an eye towards an anticipated increase in digital tax administration, as 70% of tax leaders expect that, within the next three to five years, revenue authorities will have direct access to at least some of their systems. This means that tax teams must become accustomed to working with an increasingly transparent tax system; the report acknowledged this may not be pleasant, but could ultimately become necessary.

“Working in a transparent world can feel like being in a glass house. [But] tax teams’ ability to do so will have a material impact on their companies’ reputations and brand perceptions,” said the report.

The study consisted of two surveys of more than 300 tax and finance executives across the globe, as well as in-depth interviews with more than 20 tax leaders at multinational companies, along with several U.S.-based academics.


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